Former USU Eastern coach arrested in Arizona
Police in Arizona and Colorado have investigated Chris Craig, who allegedly called himself an "Islamist Jihadist"
A former USU Eastern men's basketball coach allegedly calling himself an "Islamist Jihadist" was arrested and released in early July in Arizona after making threatening statements to professors on the campus of an Arizona College.
Christopher Craig, who served as head coach for the Golden Eagles from 2007-2010, was taken into police custody on July 10 in Thatcher, Ariz., after he allegedly went into a classroom on the campus of Eastern Arizona College waving a Bible and asking the instructor if he was Mormon. Craig then left the classroom and went to another building on the campus and continued to make derogatory statements about Mormons and Catholics before being arrested at a local Walmart store.
Craig, 32, was booked into the Graham County Jail on a number of charges, including investigation of disorderly conduct, threatening and intimidating, and interruption of an educational facility. Craig was released on July 15 after the district attorney declined to file charges against him.
A week later, police in Steamboat Springs, Colo., received 911 calls from residents about a car driving around a parking lot with a man who had a shirt wrapped around his head, a bandana wrapped around his face and sunglasses, videotaping himself. Police talked with the man who said that he was an "Islamist Jihadist" and that "in a couple of weeks everyone will know who I am". Police did not identify the man, but said he fit the description of someone arrested in Arizona earlier in the month.
Police in Fort Collins sent out a bulletin warning local churches in the area about the self-proclaimed "Islamist Jihadist" who has made threats towards the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Catholic Church.
Craig, who has kept active in social media, has continued to make posts on his personal blog with the latest entries coming on July 30. In some of his posts, Craig wrote "Everyone's [sic] on Earth mindset needs to change immediately, again, this can be done the 'easy' way, or the 'hard' way" and "West of the Mississippi River is mine. Period. I do not do diplomacy. YVHV (sic) told Me to go see Muhammed face to veil, and so I go. You think Chris has a say?" [YHWH - the Tetragrammaton - is the Anglicized version of the Hebrew letters representing "Lord" or "God." Ed.] His twitter account, which showed conversations with friends, former players he coached, biblical verses and doomsday predictions, was recently suspended.
Craig resigned from his job at Midland College in Midland, Texas on March 21. His resignation came amid Craig citing end-of-the-world prophecies and conspiracy theories on his personal blog and twitter account. His personal blog contained 31 hand written pages dated March 20 that talked about biblical verses, the possible coming of a New World Order, a possible assassination attempt on President Barack Obama while on a visit to Israel last week and much more.
Posting on his twitter account, Craig said he traveled to Jerusalem on March 21 and that the end of the world was coming on March 22. According to sources, the FBI and Secret Service contacted Craig's family about the blog and twitter posts. Craig allegedly was arrested in Israel shortly after arriving in the country. Postings on his twitter account went silent for five days before he wrote in multiple tweets on March 26 that he "currently am scared for my family and our lives. Secret Service, FBI, has been in contact with many on my behalf....I am not a threat in any way."
Craig helped guide the Golden Eagles to the 2010 NJCAA National Tournament where the team finished in third place, their best finish in over 50 years. At Northern Colorado, he served as an assistant to head coach B.J. Hill and was a part of the team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament in his only season on the bench. During his two seasons as coach at Midland, Craig's teams went 37-18 but missed advancing to the playoffs in both seasons as his teams dealt with injuries and inconsistent play.
Craig played basketball at Arizona Western College before transferring to the University of Texas-El Paso to play under then head coach Billy Gillespie in 2002.
Police in Colorado said that Craig was last seen at Rocky Mountain National Park on July 25.